Virginia Is 10th State to Pass Domestic Worker Protections – NBC4 Washington – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-03-03 06:33:53 –

The Virginia General Assembly has passed several bills that provide protection and benefits to state domestic workers.

Introduced by Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke, House Bill 2032 extends the Employee Protection Act to domestic workers and allows them to file workplace safety complaints. The Labor Industry Commission will investigate such claims.

A domestic worker is defined as an individual who is paid directly or indirectly for the services of household chores performed in or around an individual’s home. This includes jobs such as “companion, cook, waiter, butler, maid, clerk, driver”. The bill states that domestic work does not include irregular or uncertain work.

Healthcare workers have been welcomed as heroes during the coronavirus pandemic, but their salaries do not reflect their essential role. The New York Times followed a Certified Nursing Assistant in Massachusetts who lives near the Poverty Line.

The bill will affect about 60,000 workers in Virginia, said Erica Sklar, a national organizer of Hand In Hand, a national network of domestic workers’ employers that promote better working conditions. I will. Lawmakers said 90% of the workers were women and half were colored women.

“Virginia is the tenth state to pass such a law,” Sklar said. “There are also two cities that have passed this law, Seattle and Philadelphia.”

Domestic workers were exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The law outlines protections such as maximum working hours of 40 hours per week and minimum wage requirements. Political scientists say Southern Democrats have joined Republicans in opposition to FLSA. The Act of Parliament, introduced in 2019, aimed to abolish the exemption and expand the scope of domestic workers’ employment discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Alexis Rodgers, head of the Virginia advocacy group Care In Action, said he wanted people to understand the challenges of becoming a domestic worker. Care in Action is a non-profit organization that defends millions of domestic workers in the country. According to Rogers, domestic workers have been excluded from workplace protection policies that many lawmakers have not previously considered.

“Sometimes new ideas and concepts are introduced and it takes a little longer to educate lawmakers,” Rogers said. “We have certainly seen progress in the process.”

The original bill would have targeted domestic workers under the Virginia Workers Disaster Compensation Act, but that part of the bill was removed, Rogers said. She hopes the act will eventually involve domestic workers.

D-Del from Newport News. CiaPrice also submitted a bill claiming the rights of domestic workers in this session. The General Assembly passed HB1864. It extends the definition of employer in Virginia human rights law to protect domestic workers from discrimination in the workplace. The law prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and other factors.

Senator Jennifer McClellan of D-Richmond has submitted Senate Bill 1310, which includes domestic workers, to the Employee Protection Act, which includes a law on wage payments. The bill also protects domestic workers from discrimination in the workplace.

“These were originally free jobs under slavery, and then limited jobs available to African-American women,” McClellan said when he introduced her bill. “As part of Jim Crow, they were excluded from the Minimum Wage, Occupational Safety and Health Compensation, Human Rights Law, OSHA Law, and Unemployment Compensation Law. Not only here in Virginia, but throughout the South and at the federal level.”

McClellan said he was passionate about fighting for the rights of domestic workers.

“I understand from my family’s experience how important domestic work is,” McClellan said. “We trust domestic workers to take care of our loved ones in our homes, and their work allows others to work.”

Opponents of Gooditis were worried about a protocol that would allow domestic workers to inspect their homes when they filed a complaint. Senator Ryan McDougle of R-Hanover worried that “if the meeting report is agreed, the government will be able to enter the employer’s house without an investigation warrant” before the bill is passed. He said he was doing it.

“My concern about this is that if you have someone to raise a child in your home or clean in your home, now the government can come to inspect that dwelling system. It means that we are setting up, “said McDougle.

McClellan said staff would need permission from the owner of the residence or workplace to carry out the test.

“In the scenario that Senator Hanover just described, no one could enter the country without a warrant,” she said. “Once again, the inspection will not be done without the consent of the workplace owner and operator.”


This article was provided to The Associated Press by Virginia Commonwealth University Capital News Service.

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